A Good Yarn

Friday, March 31, 2006

Wrapping Up March

I loved the start of Project Spectrum. Lolly is a genius! I'm taking up her book post also. Here are some of my red books. I just grabbed whatever red or pink books I had on my book shelf. I used one of my cookbook holders to set them up and noticed I had a lot of red cook books, too, so I left those in there with my other books:

It's actually a pretty good cross-section of my books, except that I didn't include any knitting books, which are on a separate book case. There's the cook books, some popular fiction, some crafty stuff, some non-fiction and some literature.

It's gray and rainy around here.

Thank goodness it's not snowing, though! As you can see, things are pretty brown, so it's really ugly driving around town. The grass is trying to peek out, though and the trees are starting to bud, so soon it'll be pretty again.

I got a picture of the boys with their snake scarves:

They seemed to like them, despite their facial expressions here. I'm happy with how they look and the length, though.

I finished up one mitered square block in reds and pinks.

I had to block the hell out of it to get it to lay flat. I'm not too happy about that. I'll keep making blocks, though, and see how it goes. It may end up being a much smaller blanket than I originally planned, though.

I also finished up the felting on my Nantasket Basket:

Project Name: Nantasket Basket
Designer: Susan Pierce Lawrence
Pattern Source: http://nantasketbasket.blogspot.com/
Yarn: Cascade 220
Yarn Source: Borealis for the yellow, I can't remember where the red came from
Date Started: 3/21/06
Date Completed: 3/27/06

Comments: I wanted to use up some of the feltable yarns in my stash, so I decided to make these baskets for Easter for the kids. I think I made the handle a bit too long for this one. Next time I'll also finish the handle by kitchnering the ends together instead of doing a three-needle bind off.

That was a good transition project since it has both red for March and yellow for April.

Elann is on the Project Spectrum bandwagon, too.

How fun! I'll knit up these samples in April.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Official FO

This week just flew by, didn't it? It seems like I was just posting about LAST weekend. This weekend was fun and busy as well. I sewed the backing onto the second snake scarf, so those scarves are now officially FOs:

Project Name: Snake Scarves
Designer: Me, I guess
Pattern Source: Chart from 1,000 Great Knitting Motifs
Yarn: Rowan Classic Yarns Cashsoft 4 Ply
Yarn Source: The Yarnery
Date Started: 10/20/05
Date Completed: 3/26/06

Comments: When I bought this book, Red and Ben were looking through it and both wanted something knit with the snake motif. I thought it would be cool to make a scarf with the head on one end, the tail on the other and the body wrapping around your neck, just like a real snake. In order for the chart to fit on a kids' scarf, I needed to knit at 7 stitches per inch, so knitting 2 of these was quite a long process. I knit a garter stitch border, but it still curled, so I decided to attach a fabric backing, which would stop the curling and cover up the ugly wrong side. I got a big piece of a heavy velvet or velour type of fabric from Artscraps for $1. Not what I originally intended, but the price was right. I screwed up the cutting on one of them, so I had to mend to pieces together, so it has a bit of a boo boo on the back. I had already sewed it half in before I made the mistake. A real knitter would have probably ripped it out and cut a new piece of fabric, but it's on the back, it's for a kid and I was sick of sewing on the back already, so I just sewed a little scrap on.

I also finished knitting the Nantasket Basket, as the lovely and talented Chris showed on her blog on Sunday. We had a lovely time chatting and knitting. I was going to felt the basket that afternoon, but I kept forgetting to bring it down to the washer with me when I was using it for its intended purpose. I'll try to do it tonight.

I also took a break from the Project Spectrum madness and made a necklace for a friend's birthday gift.

Not a pink or a red in sight! It might look familiar since I made a similar one for another friend's birthday last year. I just liked how it came out so well I decided to follow the theme. One of these days I'm going to make a similar one for myself.

Saturday night I went to the Fine Line to see one of my favorite bands, Cowboy Mouth.

I've talked about Cowboy Mouth here before. It's an awesome live show. The lead singer/drummer describes them as a cross between The Neville Brothers and The Clash, and that sounds about right. I do not like The Fine Line. It's way too crowded for my tastes. There's a lot of women flipping their hair in your face and guys pushing you out of the way to get where they're going and drunk people doing who knows what. However, Cowboy Mouth is so happy and their show is so wonderful, you can't help but smile. So, a good time was definitely had.

Sunday was movie club. I went out for brunch with Jackie first, at Bar Abilene. I had never been there before. The brunch was pretty good. It's a buffet, which includes an omlette bar and a lot of tex-mex food, as well as breakfast standards like eggs, french toast and waffles. The bacon was amazingly good. This is the movie we saw:

I thought it was just ok. It did not grab me and hold my emotions as some reviewers have described. Everything just seemed a little too simplistic and little too pat for me. The story is set in South Africa, about a young man who is a thug. He makes a living stealing from other people with his three friends, and sometimes their victims get hurt or even die in the process. One night he steals a car from a wealthy woman and doesn't realize there's a baby in the back. He takes this baby back to his shack and begins to care for it as his own. This transforms him from a cold-blooded killer to a real human. I felt like the acting was really good - the young men in the gang, a neighborhood woman who helps Tsotsi with the baby and the baby's parents all did a great job in portraying their characters without oversentimentalizing or overacting. My problems are with the script. It just seemed like all of the characters were stock roles - the poor thug with an abusive father, the thug who is really sensitive and smart and shouldn't be in this life, the wealthy crime victims, the single mother with a heart of gold who's wise beyond her years, etc. I just think things are a lot more complicated than this film portrays and that people are capable of change, but it doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen after one triggering event - although to be fair, there are about three things that all happen in one night that trigger Tsotsi's transformation, the culmination of which is finding the baby. We did have a great discussion of the film afterward.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I checked out Paper Source afterward and picked up a few items, including a kit for making Thank You cards. I like their motto - "Do something creative every day". This is a very nice store, with beautiful papers and fun gift items. I made the cards since they have red in every one and thus fit into Project Spectrum:

I also started a new Project Spectrum project. I have a ton of Tahki Cotton Classic in a lot of different colors. It's one of my favorite basic yarns, so a few of my wonderful knitting friends have sent me skeins now and then. I was going to make some hats with it, but I decided since I have so many, it would be fun to make a mitered square afghan, ala Mason-Dixon Knitting. So, here's my first square in March red and pink:

Friday, March 24, 2006


This has been a short week, but I'm still happy it's the weekend. I saw a great play last night, "Do You Want to Know a Secret" at Intermedia Arts. The play is about a political activist, Karin, in post-war East Germany. She is married to a meek man, Walter, and they have a daugher, Erika. Karin is eventually jailed for her political activities. After the reunification of Germany, she is released from prison and elected to the legislature. She works for the release of everyone's personal files from the secret police so that informers can be revealed. The main characters are played by a real life wife, husband and daughter. They all do an incredible job of portraying some very complex characters. I really liked the structure of the play, which had short acts separated by videotaped pieces which moved the narrative along and planted a lot of questions and eventually answered a lot of questions. However, there's a lot of food for thought in the play and we were having a great time talking it over afterward. I wish I hadn't been so tired and we could have grabbed a cup of coffee and chewed it over some more. The play closes this weekend, so if you're interested in seeing it, get there now!

I also started a new book last night:

This is our next book club book and I'm really excited to read it. As I mentioned, I was really tired last night, so I didn't get into it much, but there are some really nifty turns of phrases, so I think this will be a well-written book with an engaging story.

I decided to put down "A Million Little Pieces" for right now. I reached the exact mid-point and it also was the start of a new section of the book, so I thought it was the perfect time to take a break. I'm just really having a problem with the way Frey portrays himself as such a badass and so hardcore, when I know this isn't true. I tried to just put out of my mind that this was presented as memoir and read it simply as a novel, but I haven't been successful at it. In the previous chapter I ran across this section that just seemed so hypocritical to me, I decided that at a good stopping point, I was going to take a break. The section is about a lecture at the rehab clinic. The speaker is a rock star who sounds an awful lot like Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. He's talking about his own chemical dependency and how important it is to be sober. Frey writes:

I don't like this man. I don't like what he has to say or how he's saying it. I don't believe him and his Rock Star status isn't enough to make me buy the shit he's trying to sell. Four to five thousand dollars a day of anything is enough to kill a Person several times over. Five bottles of strong liquor over the course of a night would render the strongest human on Earth comatose. Forty Valiums to sleep and he'd take a fucking nap from which he'd never return. He'd never return and maybe that would be best. An Addict is an Addict. It doesn't matter whether the Addict is white, black, yellow or green, rich or poor or somewhere in the middle, the most famous Person on the Planet or the most unknown. It doesn't matter whether the addiction is drugs, alcohol, crime, sex, shopping, food, gambling, television, or the fucking Flintstones. the life of the Addict is always the same. There is no excitement, no glamour, no fun. There are no good times, there is no joy, there is no happiness. There is no future and no escape. There is only an obsession. To make light of it, brag about it, or revel in the mock glory of it is not in any way, shape or form related to its truth, and that is all that matters, the truth. That this man is standing in front of me and everyone else in this room lying to us is heresy. The truth is all that matters. This is fucking heresy.

Well, that's a good point. So why in the hell should I read this book when you are bragging about your addiction, reveling in the mock glory of it? If al that matters is the truth and you are an admitted liar, does your book matter at all? I wonder how he felt while writing that passage. Was he really pointing the finger at himself? Did he feel like a complete fraud? Or was he just so caught up in his lies that he didn't even think about it? Obviously, that really pissed me off. I'm going to read the other book and then if I feel like picking this up and finishing it off after calming down a bit, I will. I do feel compelled to finish it because there is some realness and truth in there. It's also almost like a train wreck and I'm fascinated by comparing how he fabricates the story and how it really happened. That's probably just the voyeur in me. And by the way, the random capitalization is Frey's. It's another piece of pretension that I find irritating.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hurry Up Spring!

It's snowing again. Ugh. I've started buying cute summer clothes and sandals and I want to wear them now!! At least the days are longer. Since I'm self-employed, I can chose my own hours for the most part. I usually go in later and stay at the office until about 6:30 or 7:00. Yesterday when I left the office at 6:40 it was still light off. The days are such much better when you don't feel like you've been in the office all day long.

Once again, I have an FO!

Project Name: Jaywalker Socks
Designer: Gumperina
Pattern Source: Magknits
Yarn: Tess' Designer Yarns Super Socks
Yarn Source: Maryland Sheep and Wool 2005
Date Started: 1/14/06
Date Completed: 3/22/06

Comments: I bought this yarn from Tess' booth at MDSW 2005. It's a fantastic sock yarn! It was only $15 for a skein that's 450 yards. I have a lot of the skein left. I definitely will buy more of this yarn. I started these socks while waiting for the plane to Mexico in January, 2006. I really love how this pattern works with this yarn. I really love how the finished socks fit. It was hard to get them on over my heel, at least at first, but they fit perfectly once on my feet.

Here's the obligatory sole to sole picture:

Yes, my legs really are that white. There's barely any difference between the snow and my calf.

I also started making a Nantasket Basket.

More stash knitting. These are two skeins of Cascade 220. I bought the red just because I loved the color. The yellow was left over from my thrummed mittens. I had a lot of trouble trying to find something to go with my red beads earlier this month and I had just as much trouble with this basket. Red just doesn't look that great with a lot of other colors, at least one on one. I started with red and white, but it looked really Christmasy, so I ripped it out. Any greens also looked Christmasy. I just didn't care for pink and red. Blue was ok, but I didn't love it. I think if I had a nice dark blue in stash, I would have used that. If I had some orange, maybe I would have used that. A gold color would have been perfect, but this yellow is ok. It looks kind of catsup and mustardy. I have some Peace Fleece that I might have used, but I've heard Peace Fleece doesn't felt well. If you have any experience with felting Peace Fleece, let me know.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Productive Sunday

Sunday I went to a matinee of "Point of Revue" at the Mixed Blood Theater. It was a really good show. They call it Vaudeville of the African American experience. It's a number of short playlets from different African American writers. It's a great mix of humor, music and sharp commentary. There's a piece by Don Cheadle about children forced into fighting in Uganda that is then linked to violence against youth in America that's just heartbreaking. There's a funny piece about gay black men. My favorite was probably a piece about a reality show called "Secretary of Shake" in which Condi Rice has a couple of hoochy-mama background dancers while she sings her original composition, borrowing generously from "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" by Marvin Gaye. The irony is delicious!

I decided to do a little papercrafting for Project Spectrum this weekend, so I made a batch of birthday cards with some nice red paper:

I also finished the knitting and blocked out the second snake scarf.

I guess it sort of fits into Project Spectrum because the snake is red. Now all I have to do is sew on the backing and bada-bing, a scarf, just in time for spring. Oh well. There's always next year, right?

I also finished up the pink Caterpillar bracelet I had started last week:

I actually had done almost all the bracelet last week when I suddenly realized it was WAYYYYY too big. You are supposed to leave a little slack in the thread to accomodate all those beads and I left much too much slack. Once again, I failed to listen to that little voice in my head that was telling me that it was going to be too big until I was almost all done. I cut it all apart and started over. This one is still a little bigger than I ideally like to wear my bracelets, but it's still wearable.

Can you tell that I love this Project Spectrum thing?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Goodbye Winter

Today is the last official day of winter. After our two big snow storms, I had these huge icicles on my roof:

They were gigantic and a little frightening looking! They were right over the back steps and I was a little afraid to let the dogs walk under them. Most of them fell off right after the dogs ran down the steps the next morning, so they weren't injured - they dogs are way too fast for that :-)

Today is also the 3-year anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. I remember sitting at home watching the "shock and awe", totally worried because my sister had just shipped out to Iraq that day. I cast on my Peace Shawl that day, hoping to send some peaceful thoughts and stitches into the world. I guess that didn't work too well. My thoughts and wishes are with everyone whose family and friends didn't make it back from the war safely and to all those troops who are still in harm's way.

Onto happier thoughts.

I saw this film on Friday:

I liked it. It's a good action flick - I was on the edge of my seat a number of times. Bruce Willis puts in another solid performance. This time he plays a cop who is tired, depressed and drunk most of the time. He looks really old and has quite a belly, which I'm convinced is just padding, because it's not nearly so noticeable after the beginning of the film. Willis has to transport a prisoner 16 blocks to testify in front of a grand jury. The witness is played by Mos Def and I really liked his performance, although he could have done it without the very annoying voice. Of course they run into trouble during the transport and Willis' partner of 20 years played by David Morse shows up. I love David Morse and he does an awesome job in this role. There were a few places where I wondered why a simpler solution wasn't considered, but hey, this is an action movie and that would be boring.

Saturday was the AK get-together and I knit up something for Project Spectrum:

Project Name: Take Courage Felted Bag
Designer: Theresa Gaffey
Pattern Source: Knit for the Cure MN Leaflet with Yarn Purchase
Yarn: Courage - Rio De La Plata
Yarn Source: Needlework Unlimited
Bead Source: Yarn Garage
Date Started: 3/18/06
Date Completed: 3/18/06

Comments: A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this yarn goes to breast cancer research, so I bought the purse kit. It's a little paler pink than I usually like. I found these heart-shaped shell beads at Yarn Garage and immediately thought they'd be perfect for this little felted bag. I knit it all up in one afternoon. It felted really easily and well, shrinking quite a bit.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Just call me the finishing lady. I sewed on the buttons and crocheted the loops and now I've got a finished sweater jacket for my sister, Laura:

We're short ladies in my family and since she wanted it to fall about mid-thigh instead of all the way to the knee, it's a bit shorter than the pattern. I still have yarn left, so if she wants it longer, I can easy tear out the bottom garter stitch and add on. That's the beauty of a top down!

Project Name: Neckdown Long Hooded Cardigan
Designer: Diane Soucy
Pattern Source: Knitting Pure and Simple Leaflet
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Silk
Yarn Source: Knit Picks
Date Started: 10/30/05
Date Completed: 3/15/06

Comments: My sister asked me for a long sweater coat with a hood that she could throw on while she's running errands. This pattern fit the bill, so I showed it to her. She asked me to put some buttons on it too and to make it about mid-thigh length instead of all the way to the knee. So, I sewed on some toggle buttons and crocheted some button loops. This was my first time knitting from the top down and I really liked it. It's so much fun to cast off at the bottom and not have to sew any seams. Laura is very particular about yarn not being scratchy, so I thought this alpaca/silk/merino blend would fit the bill. There is a bit of scratchiness from the alpaca when I tried it on, but it was too tight on me, so I'm hoping with a more relaxed fit on her, it won't be bothersome. If I were making this pattern again, I'd work with a bulkier yarn since this was fairly loosely knit to achieve gauge.

As you can see, it's resting next to the other thing I've been working on these days - shoveling snow. We got another 6" last night and today, so it's another snow emergency in these parts. You may notice that it's still snowing in the background. I was hoping for another snow day, but it's just not enough for that. I took a picture of the back and kept the snow on it to remind me of our nice wintery March:

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Red and Pink

Well, I decided to just forget going into the office at all yesterday. Once I was lounging around the house in my pjs, it just didn't seem like a good idea to go in for just a few hours and then have to deal with traffic coming home. So, old fashioned snow day for me! I did have to shovel the 10.5" of snow from my sidewalks and it was really wet and heavy! I guess that's why there were over 800 slipped and crashed cars and about 20% of the buses were stalled. I, on the other hand, was beading:

I started with a bracelet:

I originally bought all these beads with a particular design in mind, but I waited too long to make it and can't for the life of me remember what it was. So, I just sort of made this one up. I wear that color of pink a lot and don't have a lot of jewelry that color, so I know that's one reason I chose these beads. I ended up with 2 extra of those long pink beads, so I was going to make earrings, but I promptly dropped it into the chair I was sitting on and couldn't find it anywhere. Maybe in 6 months I'll find it. I also made a necklace and earrings:

I got the red beads from my Secret Pal last year and immediately thought they would look great with a dark wood bead. It's harder than one would think to find dark wood beads. I finally found some and this great pendant. I have no idea what it says. After I made the necklace I decided I needed a creamish color bead too, to lighten it up and pick up the cream on the pendant. I had these tan beads in my stash from a Trendsetters mailing. They sort of look wooden, but they're actually stone.

I also started a caterpillar-type bracelet, but I think I'll return to knitting for the next few days.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Snow Day!

We had some lovely, sunny warm spring days last week - no jacket required! It was so nice and I really enjoyed it. We're back to winter today, though:

We've got 8" so far and we're supposed to get a couple more inches before it stops. A lot of schools are closed and MN-DOT is advising no travel unless necessary, so I'm taking a snow day - at least this morning. I'll re-evaluate this afternoon. It's been a long time since we've had a snow day like this, so I'm actually kind of enjoying it. Poor Fiona can barely walk through it since it's deeper than her legs are long, but she's enjoying eating the snow:

Knitting-wise, it's been either boom or bust since my last post. I had a very productive night at knitting group on Wednesday and knit the entire belt for my sister's sweater:

Now all I have to do is sew on the buttons and crochet some belt loops and button loops and it'll be finished! Yeah!!

I didn't knit at all on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Friday night I saw this film with some friends:

I liked it a lot. Felicity Huffman did a great job and was very honest and real. I also thought the supporting actors were all really good too - especially the actor who played her son. I had a lot of pre-conceptions about what the movie was like and about before I saw it, and it was very different than I expected. It's very sweet and I'd recommend it. After the movie we had dinner at Passage to India. It's an ok restaurant. Not the best in the Twin Cities. The portions are huge. The naan was good, but a little greasy.

Saturday I spent most of the day and night at the Camp formerly known as Snoopy. Beth had 4 all you can ride wristbands that were about to expire, so we took all the kids there. They got to ride on every ride in the place and had a great time. I stayed later with the boys so they could have seconds on some of their favorite rides, after we ate dinner. It was a fun, but exhausting day.

Sunday I knit quite a bit on my second snake scarf. I'm almost done with it and I'm almost out of yarn. I may have to make this one slightly shorter than the first, because I'm not buying another skein of yarn for 3" of a kids' scarf. I also got a mani and pedi at eq-life. I really liked the pedicure a lot, but the manicure was nothing special. Perhaps she was a bit rushed because it was close to closing time. I definitely would go back for the pedi next time my feet need a lot of attention, but the manicure was overpriced for the service received.

I've decided to do a little beading for Project Spectrum, so I pulled out all of my pink and red beads:

I've got some good ideas for some jewelry. Stay tuned for some beadwork soon. And here's my entry in the Project Spectrum meme.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Democracy in Action

In Minnesota, we have a caucus system. The two main parties in Minnesota are the Democrats (Democratic-Farmer-Labor or DFL party in Minnesota) and the Republicans (Independent Republicans or IR in Minnesota from 1974-1995, but now just plain old Republican). Yes, we are weird and have to do things our own way. Last night, each party held their own caucus - you get together with your neighbors on a precinct by precinct basis. At your precinct caucus, you choose delegates to represent you at the Senate District Convention who then choose delegates to the State Convention. At the State Convention, the delegates choose who will get the Party's endorsement for each office. In September, we have a primary just like other states where voters choose the top candidates who will actually run against each other in the general election, which of course happens in November.

So, let's say you have 4 candidates running for Governor as Democrats. Eventually, one of the candidates will be endorsed by the DFL party, but all of them can keep running for Governor to the primary election and then the voters decide who will be the DFL candidate in the General Election. The system is supposed to be a way to keep the party in the hands of the people - the grassroots system of choosing who is endorsed, rather than just some "party bosses" choosing the candidate for the party. Unfortunately, the public still has the perception that only the real lefties and righties attend the caucuses and Conventions and that the endorsement is still some sort of coronation. The endorsement may not actually help a candidate in the primary, but hurt him. Senator Mark Dayton knew he had no chance of getting the DFL endorsement, so he didn't even bother with the caucus sytem and just focused on the primary and obviously won.

So, is the caucus stuff even worth your time? Back when I was in college I was a political science major and very involved in politics. I was a Republican back then and always attended my caucuses with the handful of other Republicans in very liberal Minneapolis. Then in law school I stopped trying to rebel against my hippie parents and became disillusioned by the GOP that was overtaken by the religious right social conservatives and became a Democrat. I was fairly active in DFL politics and attended caucuses then. After graduating I just didn't see the point and haven't been to a caucus in a while. But since I bitch and complain about how things are going in this country and in this state, I decided I had to get involved again this year and attended my DFL caucus last night. I'm still not sure it wasn't a complete waste of time, but I feel better knowing I went.

We spent most of our time debating resolutions. Anyone can write a resolution and present it to the caucus. We debate them and if they are passed, they are passed along up the line to the conventions and eventually they become part of our party's platform. The most famous resolution to begin at the caucus level was a resolution from outstate Minnesota that eventually resulted in the formation of the Peace Corps. Our caucuses resolutions were about Univeral Health Care, funding ECFE, immigration, voting, the mimnimum wage and some party stuff. Most of them passed without much debate because we really were all pretty lefty and pretty much agree on how things should work. Despite living in a major Metropolitan city, my caucus looked pretty suburban. It was all white middle class people. There was one guy who was a European immigrant and one guy who is a Union worker. One guy is a very famous DFL political commentator and activist. One woman said she's a financial advisor. You know I'm a lawyer. There were lots of senior citizens. I guess if I still lived in Minneapolis, things might be a little more diverse. Or perhaps even a different neighborhood in St. Paul.

Anyway, I wish I had brought this along to the caucus and gotten some knitting done too:

They fit into the Project Spectrum pink March very well, don't they? As you might be able to tell, I am using Lantern Moon rosewood needles on these. I broke another one last night. I started these on my trip to Mexico and had broken a couple of needles on the trip. I contacted Lantern Moon and they were nice enough to replace them with a new set. Extremely generous and very, very good customer service. I highly recommend them. Unfortunately, as I said, I broke one of the new needles last night. I think size 1 is just too small for Rosewood needles. I'm going to stick with the more sturdy ebony needles from now on, at least for needles under size 3.

I've also been reading "A Million Little Pieces". I wish I had read this before the news of Mr. Frey's deception came out. Now that he has admitted that he exaggerated things, I feel like I can tell when he's going off the tracks. There are places where he talks about his addiction and his feelings that sound very real and honest to me. But then he starts going off on what a tough guy he is and how everyone is scared of him and it sounds like so much braggadocio. It annoys me and takes me right out of the book. I'm also not sure I love his style. He creates these long compound sentences with a lot of "ands" in them. Let me find one. Okay, I just opened the book and looked at the first sentence of a paragraph and this is what I find:

I walk to the Dining Hall and I get in line and I grab a tray and I take a deep breath and the smell of the food floods my body and I am hungry, hungry, hungry and I want to eat and I want to eat a lot.

So, that's pretty typical. The repetition you see in there is typical too. Since I'm already annoyed with him and finding him a braggart, I find that repetition a bit pretentious. I'm about 1/4 of the way through and I'm trying to decide whether to finish or not. I hardly ever not finish books. But, life is short, you know?

Speaking of books, I'm thinking about joining Zooba. Anyone had any experience with them? There are a fair number of best sellers and knitting books that I think I'd like for only $10 each and I generally buy at least one book a month, so it seems like it might be a good choice for me.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Here's my favorite hand-knits model showing off my latest FO:

Project Name: Double Knit Scarf
Designer: Bernadette St. Amant
Pattern Source: Class Handout from Yarn Cafe trip to Mexico
Yarn: Trendsetter Dune and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
Yarn Source: Yarn Cafe
Date Started: 1/15/06
Date Completed: 3/6/06

Comments: In January, 2006 I went on a trip to the Maya Riveria, Mexico, with a group from the Yarn Cafe. Every morning we had knitting instruction with Bernadette St. Amant. This double-knit scarf was our group project. I modified the pattern by making it as long as I could and had just enough of the Dune and only a few yards of the Cashmerino Aran left. I learned to make the clover-shaped i-cord tassels in the class.

As you can see, Finbar is recovering well from his surgery. His hair is really starting to grow in:

The Oscars broadcast was fairly uneventful, other than the Crash win for Best Picture. I had read a lot of stories lately predicting the "upset" though, so I wasn't totally shocked. I really liked Crash a lot, so I'm not mad about it. I'm also kind of happy because some people have really trashed Crash and I'm laughing at them now. I won the Oscar pool again:

Pretty, aren't they? The lighting is bad, but here's a closeup:

I also wanted to say something about the passing of Kirby Puckett:

It's so sad for such a young man to die - he was only 8 years older than I am. It's really confusing for me too. Kirby Puckett was the most beloved athlete in Minnesota. The stories about his kindness and decency are legend. Almost everyone who ever met Kirby Puckett was charmed and honored by the meeting. But there was another Kirby. He was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a bathroom, but later exonerated. He also went through a nasty divorce that included revelations of adultery and domestic abuse. It was impossible for me to reconcile those two Kirbys and it's something I think about all the time - you never really know what someone is like from their public persona. And no one is all good or all bad.

For me, personally, I met Kirby twice. I met him once at a Timberwolves game after the allegations. I was lucky enough to have 3rd row seats to a playoff game, directly behind Kirby. He looked very sad and lonely - I didn't see much of that trademark Kirby smile. It was so weird that not very many people approached him or spoke with him. I'm sure he was bombarded with attention in earlier years.

Before that I met Kirby the night the Twins won the World Series in 1987. It's hard for non-Minnesotans to understand how big that World Series was. Minnesota sports fans feel like we're cursed. After losing the 4 Super Bowls and so many other debacles, we just have a fatalist attitude. And then Kirby and the Twins brought glory to Minnesota. I was in college at the time and I lived in an apartment in between the U of MN and downtown Minneapolis. Some friends lived the next building over, so I watched the last game with them - Metrodome was very close and you could always hear the crowds coming out of the Dome. After the win, we decided to walk over to the Dome and celebrate with the crowd. There were so many people down there. We walked to the Dome, then into downtown Minneapolis, then down Hennepin Avenue all the way to Uptown. The whole time, everyone was cheering and giving each other high fives. Over and over and over again. It was a remarkable experience - I've never felt like such a part of a community. Very, very late the crowd finally dissipated and we walked back to our apartments. As we were walking past the Metrodome, Kirby just happened to be leaving the Dome, getting into a Limo. We had the opportunity to give him a high five and congratulate him and it was the greatest thing ever.

1991 was also an amazing feeling. I watched the game in downtown Minneapolis with my oldest friend and her husband. We celebrated the win with strong drinks and felt so happy - I'll never forget that night either.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

In Like a Lion?

March has been pretty busy so far. Not a lot of knitting, but I have been having fun. I went with the kids to this show:

eh. If you're a big fan of the books, it captures the innocense and look of the books. The kids liked it. For me, there were a few funny moments, but in general it was pretty boring.

I also saw a play, "A Number." I liked it, but didn't love it. It explored a lot of interesting ideas and the acting was awesome. The writing was just ok. It's about a father who wants a "do over", so he has his son cloned and raises the clone. It explores one of my favorite themes - what makes a person who he or she is.

I also attended a showing of the Short Documentaries nominated for Academy Awards this year. Unfortunately, I got the time wrong and missed the first half of the first one, "The Death of Kevin Carter". It's the one that is favored to win, so I really wanted to see it, too. What I did see was compelling - it's about a South African photographer who killed himself after winning a Pulitzer Prize for his photo of a child from Sudan starving to death with a buzzard stalking him. My favorite was "God Sleeps in Rwanda". That's about the women who are re-building Rwanda after the genocide. It's really amazing and inspiring. And there's even a scene with a woman knitting in it! The other two were "The Mushroom Club" about Hiroshima 60 years after the bomb and "A Note of Triumph" about poet Norman Corwin, particularly his radio broadcast on VE Day. I liked them all and am so glad I got a chance to see them this year. I'm also glad the Academy didn't do away with this category as they have been talking about.

And since tonight is the presentation of the Academy Awards, here's my Top 10 Films of 2005:

1. Brokeback Mountain
2. Crash
3. Broken Flowers
4. Good Night and Good Luck
5. Munich
6. Capote
7. Cinderella Man
8. Match Point
9. Hustle & Flow
10. Syriana

As you can see, my top 6 are all nominated for Best Picture this year. That NEVER happens.

And here's my list of the Best Documentaries of 2005:

1. Unknown White Male
2. The Real Dirt on Farmer John
3. Mad Hat Ballroom
4. The Aristocrats
5. Why We Fight
6. Murderball
7. After Innocence
8. Grizzly Man
9. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
10. Occupation: Dreamland

Yeah, March of the Penguins would be #11. I really liked it, but I didn't think it was all that special. It seemed like a very well done National Geographic film. It'll probably win tonight, though. It sucks that only two of my top 10 are even nominated. Of course, I haven't seen Street Fight or Darwin's Nightmare, so perhaps those are really good. I have a downloaded copy of Darwin's Nightmare, but it doesn't work in my DVD player and I don't have the right software for my computer.

I have been knitting a bit, too. I finished my sister's hoodie:

Sorry about that spot of water - a little too much steam. The garter stitch edges are flipping like crazy, so I'm hoping they'll stay down after being steamed. When I pinned it out I realized that I totally messed up on the right side edge - at some point I must have slipped the stitch marker over one so there is only 4 edge stitches, instead of 5. ARGH! Hopefully no one will notice since it's so dark. Now I've gotta sew on the buttons and knit up a belt, so she can either button or tie it shut.

As you've probably heard, Project Spectrum started too. Since I was digging around the stash for some feltable bulky wool to make the bag in Interweave Knits, I decided to pull out some red and pink yarn for inspiration. This is only the most inspirational stuff:

There's some great stuff in there!! I still don't know where to start....